Sunday, 29 April 2018

Thanks for Nothing

I booked a place on a birdwatching walk at the Berkeley Botanical Gardens. Tickets are $20, but free for me as a visiting researcher. Upon registration I got the following message:

I am not sure if this is a coding oversight or sarcasm.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Ten Years

My friend Surya posed an interesting question recently: do you spend more time thinking about the past or the future? (Another of his questions: do women prefer warm lighting or guitarists? Make of this what you will.)

Saha and I said we think more about the future – and it seemed self-evident to us that most people would be the same. Surya said he thinks more about the past: marking changes and trends, comparing, taking stock. And indeed I remembered a long-ago camping trip at the end of which Saha and I were trying to simultaneously pack gear, plan our route and calculate how many hours of daylight we had left. Meanwhile Surya said, "Hang on, let's take a moment to say bye-bye to the campsite." (To be clear, there was no one else there; he was saying goodbye to the inanimate campsite itself.)

Anyhow, I am not much of a one for looking back, nor, for that matter, for birthdays, but Tommy recently reminded me that this month, The World According to Sroyon turned ten years old.

My first ever post was called Three Reasons for not Having a Blog. Reason 2 was:
There is a distinct possibility that I will lose interest in the blog and abandon it a few months down the line.
Whatever your position may be on the validity of Reasons 1 and 3, ten years on it is safe to say that Reason 2, at least, has not come to pass.

When I started blogging, there were already a few personal blogs which I regularly read and commented on – thoughtful, interesting, funny blogs written by friends, or people who later became friends through blogging. Of all those people – Saha, Priyanka, Darshana, Visa, Anasua (I can still reel off their names, though some of the URLs give me pause) – only Kroswami 'kontinues the krap'. Like Sam and Frodo, we march on. The fellowship has been dissolved: not because the Ring is an existential threat, but because it is merely unfashionable.

The other blogs I mentioned have all been abandoned, made private or deleted. I'm still friends with the people who wrote those blogs, but I miss their writing. Some days, even though their blogs have been private for a while, I'll go for a haircut and think of Priyanka's memorable comic on that subject, or see a starry sky and remember Saha's post about a misheard Dylan lyric.

But more than that, because we were friends, the blogs formed a mini-universe: an ecosystem connected by comments, blogrolls and inside-jokes, greater than the sum of its parts. Without that ecosystem, blogs like mine are in a kind of no man's land: too personal to be of any great interest to an unknown reader (and in an age of relentless search-engine optimisation, how would they find it anyway?), and in the wrong corner of the social media world to get traffic from friends and acquaintances (I have thought about sharing blogpost links on Facebook, if only as a one-off experiment, but so far I have abstained).

Nevertheless, for reasons enumerated elsewhere, I plod on. And I hope to continue – for another ten years or more.

Oh look, I'm thinking about the future again.

Thank you for reading.